Here’s Mark Tinklin’s Ultimate XI. Let him know what you think of it!
‘You’ve got red on you’ was my first reaction to seeing Mark’s Ultimate Eleven and, as a Manchester United fan, it’s no surprise to see the core of his team consisting of a vast array of Red Devils, both past and present. With a hard-working midfield, and a solid defence, it is very difficult to see this lot conceding many goals, and when you’ve got the ability of Kaka and Rooney up front, they’d be sure to score a fair few too. My only comment would be that, with no real aerial threat in attack, Beckham’s greatest strength (his crossing) may not be capitalised on as much as it could be. I feel I may well be nitpicking though, as it’s a fantastic team.
Mark explains his selections below. Make sure you tell him what you think of his team by commenting below and, if you feel you have a better Ultimate Eleven up your sleeve, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will put as many of them up on the site as possible. Before you do though, please read the criteria here.
Goalkeeper: Peter Schmeichel – Peter Schmeichel – The best keeper there has ever been. Made some ridiculous reaction saves and dominated his penalty area. He had a unique style and the way he spread himself owed much to his handball heritage. Strikers must have been terrified at the sight of the giant Dane charging down on them. A hero that defied logic with his agility and even scored the odd goal.
Right Back: Micah Richards – When he burst onto the scene a couple of years ago I thought he’d be the best full-back there is, but after declaring he wants to be centre-back he’s struggled to make the same impact this season. At his best he is a mix of power, energy, pace and talent and if he can rediscover his best form then he will be England’s first choice right-back for years to come.
Centre Half: Pepe – I didn’t really know much about the Real Madrid centre-back before the Euros but was very impressed with what I saw. Another who, like Ferdinand, is comfortable on the ball making him the natural successor to Jorge Andrade in the Portugal team.
Centre Half: Rio Ferdinand – Another world great. I can’t thing of a better defender in the world than Rio at the moment. Seems to get places faster with less effort than anyone else because his positioning is so good. He’s very confident too and often doesn’t mark very tight because he knows that whatever the attacker does, he’ll be there to make the tackle.
Left Back: Dennis Irwin – Gets in the team ahead of Patrice Evra which is praise in its self. Very reliable and a fantastic striker of the ball. I saw him play in a Masters match at Craven Cottage (great pies) and waited all game for him to have a shot at goal or a freekick. Eventually he took a penalty in a shoot-out at the end of the game and didn’t disappoint, smashing the ball into the top corner with consummate ease and class.
Right Wing: David Beckham – Underrated by the British public because of all his off field activities Beckham was my favourite player as a kid. Hardworking but with great technique he has shown his quality by starring at Real Madrid and AC Milan. He came second in the European Player of the Year stakes when Manchester United won the treble and scored some great goals, including a screamer against Derby County. Becks did the best thing on a football pitch I have ever seen when he curled a pass down the touchline against Sheffield Wednesday at Old Trafford.
Centre Midfield: Patrick Vieira – For my obligatory defensive midfielder I have gone for the frighteningly good Patrick Vieria. Much, much better than that Makalele character could ever be. He could do it all and would boss the midfield for Arsenal. Strong in the tackle, but also very good running with the ball the Gunners still haven’t been able to replace him since he left. Saying that when I saw him play he was marked out of the game by Phil Neville.
Centre Midfield: Paul Scholes – Almost every player who plays with Paul Scholes rates him as the best. Technically superb, intelligent and capable of scoring wonderful goals – see Barcelona last year and that volley against Bradford. In one Charity Shield game a couple of years back he turned Gilberto Silva with such speed and agility that the Brazilian fell over. Then he did it again. Scholes sees passes that other players don’t and is good enough to make them.
Left Wing: Cristiano Ronaldo – The best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo is the ultimate example of the modern footballer. Tall, powerful, and strong but blessed with amazing ability. His step overs are well known but he has improved as a player immeasurably since learning that he can use his pace to simply run past people. Scored a supreme number of goals last season and can only get better.
Attacking Midfield: Kaka – While his Brazilian team-mates enjoy showing off their skills and tricks Kaka is simply better than almost everyone else. He scored the greatest goal I’ve been fortunate to watch in the flesh when, in a friendly against Argentina at the Emirates, he took the ball on the edge of his own penalty area and ran the length of the pitch to score. Made the right decision in turning down Manchester City but should stop giving God all the credit for his success.
Striker: Wayne Rooney – I first became aware of Rooney when he scored a sensational goal for the Everton youth team in the FA Youth Cup. He hit the wall from a freekick 40 yards out and promptly volleyed home the rebound. Wazza scored what is probably my favourite ever goal when he smashed in a flying volley against Newcastle.
Let Mark know what you think of his team, by commenting below. If you can think of your own ‘Ultimate XI’, send it to me at email@example.com. I will put as many of them up on the site as possible. Before you do though, please read the criteria here.